Highlights

  • 3 men found dead at Poonch ambush site
  • Officials: deaths under suspicious circumstances
  • Search on to catch terrorists behind ambush

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Poonch ambush: 3 found dead near attack site under mysterious circumstances

A massive search operation is underway in the forests to track down the terrorists responsible for the ambush, which claimed the lives of five soldiers of the Indian Army.

Poonch ambush: 3 found dead near attack site under mysterious circumstances

Three men were found dead under suspicious circumstances on Friday near the site of an ambush by terrorists on Army vehicles in Jammu and Kashmir's Poonch district, leaving five soldiers dead and two injured the previous day, officials said.

The deceased were among the eight people reportedly picked up by the Army for questioning in connection with Thursday's attack at Dhatyar Morh, between Dhera Ki Gali and Bufliaz, under the jurisdiction of the Surankote police station, the officials said.

A massive search operation is underway in the dense forests to track down the terrorists as General Officer Commanding of Jammu-based White Knight Corps Lieutenant General Sandeep Jain and Director General of Police R R Swain inspected the scene of the ambush and reviewed the security situation, they added.

A team from the National Investigation Agency (NIA), headed by a deputy inspector general-rank officer, also visited the ambush site but a top official said the agency was not assigned the case for probe so far.

The officials said three men -- Safeer Hussain (43), Mohammad Showket (27) and Shabir Ahmad (32), all residents of Topa Peer village of Bufliaz -- died under mysterious circumstances but the cause of their death was not known immediately.

Poonch Deputy Commissioner Choudhary Mohammad Yasin and Senior Superintendent of Police Vinay Kumar reached Bufliaz following the reports of the death of the three men, while Jammu Divisional Commissioner Ramesh Kumar is also heading for Surankote, the officials said.

Three to four heavily-armed terrorists targeted a Maruti gypsy and a truck of the Army late Thursday afternoon, killing the five soldiers and injuring two.

After the attack, the terrorists reportedly mutilated the bodies of at least two soldiers and took away the weapons of some of them.

Lt Gen. Jain visited Ground Zero and reviewed the situation with top Army and police officers.

"Indian Army and White Knight Corps salute the bravery and supreme sacrifice of four soldiers in Surankote yesterday while fighting the scourge of terrorism," White Knight Corps or XVI Corps wrote on X.

The DGP, along with other senior officers including Inspector General of Police, Jammu Zone, Anand Jain, visited Poonch and reviewed the security situation, the officials said.

An official said aerial monitoring with the help of helicopters is also being conducted and sniffer dogs have been pressed into service to track down the terrorists.

"A massive cordon-and-search operation began this morning after a night cordon in the area," an officer told PTI.

The operation is still going on.

The officer said additional troops have been inducted into the area to track down the terrorists.

Security experts said the rising number of terror incidents in the Rajouri-Poonch region is concerning.

"It is a matter of concern. It is the second incident in the last two months. This region was peaceful till recently. During the last two years, 35 soldiers were killed here. Why is it happening? Why have terrorists got so emboldened?" defence expert Colonel S S Pathania wondered.

Security expert Captain (retired) Anil Gaur said Pakistan is trying to revive terrorism in the region by engineering these incidents. "There is some fault in how we are dealing with terrorism. It is time to strengthen intelligence and security setup of the region and eliminate all terrorists in difficult areas. There are caves," he said.

In Jammu, several organisations, including the Jammu Statehood Organisation, held anti-Pakistan protests and burnt the effigy of Pakistan.

The Shiv Sena Dogra Front also held anti-Pakistan protests and demanded an all-out operation to get rid of terrorists from the area. They urged the government to carry out special operations along forest areas and strengthen the intelligence network.

Also Watch: Poonch ambush: NIA visits encounter site as search operation continues


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